The Ultimate Failure of Human Society Is the Neglect of the Spiritual Principle and Aim of Life

Humanity has sought for some meaning to life.  The idea that we are here to “eat, drink and be merry” has been mooted as one way of approaching life, but it can easily be seen for its shallowness and ultimate meaninglessness.  Why do we exist?  Is there some ultimate aim, purpose or direction?  These questions have haunted humanity down through the ages.  We develop a strong physical culture, we develop a vibrant vital life, we create emotional satisfactions, mental practice and culture and an aesthetic and artistic sense, but in the end, all of these things are simply accouterments of a life that revolves around the ego and has no further outlet.  Ancient sages and rishis concluded that there is a further development possible and that it is within this further development that a true meaning for life takes shape.  This is the spiritual development, the province of the soul of man, not the mind.

Sri Aurobindo observes:  “Modern society has discovered a new principle of survival, progress, but the aim of that progress it has never discovered, — unless the aim is always more knowledge, more equipment, convenience and comfort, more enjoyment, a greater and still greater complexity of the social economy, a more and more cumbrously opulent life.  But these things must lead in the end where the old led, for they are only the same thing on a larger scale; they lead in a circle, that is to say, nowhere: they do not escape from the cycle of birth, growth, decay and death, they do not really find the secret of self-prolongation by constant self-renewal which is the principle of immortality, but only seem for a moment to find it by the illusion of a series of experiments each of which ends in disappointment.  That so far has been the nature of modern progress.  Only inits new turn inwards, towards a greater subjectivity now only beginning, is there a better hope; for by that turning it may discover that the real truth of man is to be found in his soul.  It is not indeed certain that a subjective age will lead us there, but it gives us the possibility, can turn in that direction, if used rightly, the more inward movement.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Human Cycle: The Psychology of Social Development, Chapter 21, The Spiritual Aim and Life, pp. 223-225

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